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Round Table Post

Feb 12, 2014
Schofield: Relationships rooted in principles of genuine solidarity

Liisa Schofield is an elected organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. She works on both the 'Raise the Rates Campaign' to raise social assistance rates in Ontario, as well as the 'Downtown East Fightback' in Toronto against gentrification and for housing and services.
Beyond Stop Harper
I work with (and come from) communities that have faced a constant onslaught of cutbacks and grinding poverty, especially since the 90’s. Given the strength we need to win even small victories, too often our power feels insufficient.
 
As crises escalate, we scramble to find or create overarching meaning and to be strategic in everything that we do. This can be healthy, but big-picture perspectives can lose sight of what Hussan calls “struggles rooted in the material needs of our communities…”. How do we balance the desperate growing needs of day-to-day campaigns ‘on the ground’ and strategizing to build broader interconnected, powerful and disruptive movements?
 
Mostafa's point about "an orientation that looks beyond the left” is important in this respect. To build relationships with people ‘beyond’, we have to be present in the immediate issues and emotionally connected to the work we do and the people we work with.
 
As we build those relationships and our organizations, we should treat each other with true camaraderie and care; ‘committed to one another’ in the anti-oppressive ways that pascal brunet very importantly talks about.
 
I believe that our strength is in our rootedness and interconnectedness. There are a lot of people out there working hard and fighting back every day. Let’s find each other and support each other. History is made of many movements, collisions and escalations. Building relationships rooted in principles of genuine solidarity is where we start. From there we can develop the power we need to win.

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